7:57 am
14 Apr 2024

Willstrop Wins Players Cup

8 Mar 2008

It was a packed house for the final of the McWIL Courtwall Players Cup which began with David Palmer getting off to a rocky start against James Willstrop, downing two balls and sending another out of play. At 2-3 Palmer wrested the serve from the Englishman, but a long volley ended in the Willstrop's favour, putting him up 4-2. Willstrop racked up another three points before a soft shot just above the tin advanced Palmer on the board, but it was too little too late. Willstrop shot ahead to take the game 11-5 to lead 1/0.

In game two, Palmer showed glimpses of greatness, but then just as often his play appeared clunky and just a bit slow. After a shot to the tin brought the game to two-all, Palmer got back to basics, working the T tight and hard and bringing the score to four-all. A couple of spills, as well as a tough no let call to Palmer put Willstrop up 7-4. Palmer fired off two to bring it to 6-7. But three hard-earned points took Willstrop to 9-6 before Palmer scraped his way back, making it nine-all. A fierce volley followed, taking it to 10-all. Willstrop's down ball put Palmer in the hunt, and the wily Willstrop pushed it to 11-all, before a let and stroke in Palmer's favour earned him the game.

In game three, with the score four-all, Palmer grabbed three fast points to go up 7-4, before Willstrop came back for two. Palmer took the serve back at 8-6, but a forced error and a missed shot tied it up again: eight-all. At nine-all, a stroke to Willstrop gave him the serve and the game ball. A missed shot put Palmer back in the game at 10-all. Palmer took the first point, only to down the next ball: 11-all. Willstrop quickly gave up a stroke, putting Palmer up 12-11. A stroke to Willstrop and it was 12-all. A stunning shot by Willstrop advanced him one and a tossed racquet by Palmer cost him the final stroke and the game.

Up 2-1 at the start of the game four, Willstrop took the serve and a 3-0 lead before Palmer returned the favour, earning his own three points. Another quick three put Willstrop up 6-3. At 8-5, Willstrop appeared unstoppable, forcing Palmer to down back-to-back balls. With the match on the line, Willstrop finessed a lovely winning shot to take the Players Cup title and the $25K cash.

[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [1] David Palmer (AUS) 11-5, 10-11 (1-3), 11-10 (4-2), 11-5 (95m)